Gary Burnette has been a “life” IBMmer having spent the entirety of his professional career at IBM. He joined IBM in 1983 immediately following his graduation from ETSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. He has worked in a broad range of roles including software development, product management, product marketing, IT business/financial operations, IT transformation, and big data/data science. Professionally, he has grown from an individual contributor programming IBM mainframe platform products to a Vice President leading global organizations as large as 3000 professionals.

In 2016, he joined the Chief Data Office (CDO) reporting to IBM’s first Chief Data Officer. He and his team are focused on IBM’s substantive M&A related activities. Gary partners with corporate development, the various business units inside IBM acquiring companies, and the acquired companies themselves. His teams identify relevant business data for capture into the IBM enterprise data platforms and seek out ways to leverage data to improve the overall performance of the integration process and the expected financial results.

From 2009 through 2016, he acted as a divisional CIO initially supporting sales and growing over the period to incorporate marketing and digital commerce. Gary’s team led the operations of all IT systems in support of these business areas globally and were tasked with the creation of capabilities to support IBM’s new business models and ways of working.

Additionally, Gary’s teams built new capabilities for IBM’s sellers including a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform enabled with analytics, cloud, and mobility.  He also developed the strategy and led the implementation of IBM’s Mobile Sales Initiative deploying over 40K iPads to sellers and developing new apps enabling the selling experience for how their sellers engage their clients. Gary’s team were key players in IBM’s digital transformation deploying new marketing automation tools driven by data and connected to online SaaS and IaaS platforms. This was vital in capturing new potential buyers, gaining their interest and hopefully converting them to clients and advocates for IBM’s solutions.

Before that, he was Vice President, Operations and Strategy in IBM’s sales organization leading process design work, development of IT strategies in response to business change and operations of the management system, IT systems, telephony and infrastructure in support of sales. He maintained operational and financial responsibility for nearly $1B in IT related spending and his teams drove many productivity and operational improvements

From 2000-2006, Gary was a Director within the Sales Organization acting as the IT delivery owner for key CRM, CPQ (Configure Price and Quote) systems. In this role, Gary organized an enterprise-wide effort, created and led a methodology ultimately culminating in a “buy” decision for IBM’s first externally purchased CRM system. He then worked across the business to implement that system. His teams varied in size (250-400 individuals) but were global by nature.

Prior to his IT executive roles, Gary held jobs in IBM’s Software division as a developer and in various levels of development management. He led product management and marketing programs in IBM’s networking business.

Gary graduated from East Tennessee State University and has participated in IBM executive education programs at George Washington (Project Management) and Penn State (ISC). He mentors a number of IBM top talent professionals and serves as Co-Chair to IBM’s Diversity Council for American Indians, whose focus is on the development and advancement of American Indian professionals.

Gary lives in Raleigh with his wife and two sons.


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